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Sara Jarrold

Archie was being taken care of by the nanny, a gorgeous twenty-two year old thing. He welcomed any opportunity to be with her…yes, he was only two, but a chip off the old block…

Polly was able to have a luxuriating bath at five so she had ample time before the guests were due to arrive, at seven thirty. She dressed after having a post-bath nap. Her beige flowing pants, off-white top and pearls offset the beige highlights in her hair. She had a fresh natural look and was as slim as a reed.

Her mother always said the hostess has to look ‘comfy whilst looking elegant’, and that she needs to look like she is ‘doing’ something (without working too hard), because then guests feel uncomfortable and won’t want to come back. As well as that, one should never outshine one’s guests. They will then feel fabulous and will have a good time. Polly needed to follow this maxim for the sake of Jeremy and his position within the bank.

By this time the guests had all piled in. Mary, the maid, was already exhausted, trying to appease their demands. She would complain about it tomorrow and demand more money.  It was a Friday night and Jeremy’s colleagues were week-weary and thirsty.  He was with them in the other room, glad their wives and partners were there, to buffer the usual peppering of conversation with words more suited to the dealing desk and executive lunch haunts.  He had come home earlier than usual to help Polly and read Archie a story. She was still in the foyer ready to open the door to the last latecomer.

What is it about bankers, Polly thought... bulls, bears and all that; they really do get stuck into everything with a vengeance?  The more they have, the less they cared about decorum or manners.  ‘I really should have hired extra help,’ she said to herself under her breath. 

The doorbell rang and Polly ran to the door. Thankfully this is the last, she thought to herself as she swung open the doors with a big smile on her face.

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